Last week I packed all of my belongings in a storage unit and left my house of 10 years. I've been paring down my possessions so that when I left I could comfortably fit all that remained in a 5x5 ft (1.5m) unit. I stuffed all of my clothes, a few important books, and electrical gadgets in a duffel bag and carry-on. That is what I will live out of for the foreseeable future. I've chosen to roam and I don't know when or where I'll stop. I have some preliminary plans to stay in Europe for most of the next eight months or so, but who knows where I'll be when. I'm in Dublin, Ireland right now, will be at DrupalCon San Francisco in April and intend to live in Copenhagen, Denmark this summer. That's about all I have sketched out.
The last year has been intense in a lot of different ways. I've also been in a deep depression for most of it. No need to get into lots of details, but one of the casualties of all this was my relationship with Colleen. It ended in October, after nine years together. Needless to say, we are both deeply saddened, but determined to work out a lasting friendship. I stayed in the empty house for as long as I could while we figured out what to do with it. Neither of us has any desire to stay in the shell that used to be our home. Aside from the ghostly experience of living in the house, Maryland itself doesn't have much to offer me these days. Most of my good friends from the area have moved away. The house is a quiet place of trees and memories, which I do love, but it also makes me feel cut off, adrift. And sad. Maryland is simply no longer a home for me, and returning there makes me feel empty instead of comforted. More has changed here than my relationship in just the last few months (not counting all of the shit from last year); the deeply wooded lot next to me has been ripped up (every single last ever-loving tree!) for new houses, my cats moved out to live with Colleen, and my elderly next-door neighbor killed himself on his front steps (that image is forever burned in my skull). The time has come to move on. I feel like I am living in a parody of my "home." It has been a good home, a great home, but my definition of home is changing. Or maybe my definition is the same but there is nothing that matches it any longer. What it is changing into or from, I don't know, but I know "home" is no longer here.
So I'm heading back into the world of experience and exploration to see what I can find. I'm not even sure what I'm looking for, but I will try (try, try) to have faith in my self that I will know something when I encounter it. That I won't continue to make fatal mistakes (ha!). I will need to work hard to be open on this journey. I'm beat up, fed up, exhausted, and oftentimes not very amused by all of this muckity-muck when I had a perfectly respectable life going on. But there is also a flame in me that is fascinated and pulls me forward in hope, gasping at fresh air. There is excitement mixed with fear and (self-)loathing. I choose to believe this is a cocktail for discovery and growth instead of despair.
So. I am homeward bound but homeless. And I'm OK with that. Let the journey unfold.